Also, here are similar commonplace books by Clark Aston Smith: The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith, The Black Book: Adenda, and Strange Shadows (Thanks to Allan Grohe for the C.A.S. links).
This book consists of ideas, images, & quotations hastily jotted down for possible future use in weird fiction. Very few are actually developed plots—for the most part they are merely suggestions or random impressions designed to set the memory or imagination working. Their sources are various—dreams, things read, casual incidents, idle conceptions, & so on.
—H. P. Lovecraft
Presented to R. H. Barlow, Esq., on May 7, 1934—in exchange for an admirably neat typed copy from his skilled hand.
1 Demophon shivered when the sun shone upon him. (Lover of darkness = ignorance.)
2 Inhabitants of Zinge, over whom the star Canopus rises every night, are always gay and without sorrow. [x]
3 The shores of Attica respond in song to the waves of the Aegean. [x]
4 Horror Story
Man dreams of falling—found on floor mangled as tho’ from falling from a vast height. [x]
5 Narrator walks along unfamiliar country road,—comes to strange region of the unreal.
6 In Ld Dunsany’s “Idle Days on the Yann”
The inhabitants of the antient Astahan, on the Yann, do all things according to antient ceremony. Nothing new is found.
“Here we have fetter’d and manacled Time, who wou’d otherwise slay the Gods.” [x]
7 Horror Story
The sculptured hand—or other artificial hand—which strangles its creator. [x]
8 Hor. Sto.
Man makes appt. with old enemy. Dies—body keeps appt.
9 Dr. Eben Spencer plot. [x]
10 Dream of flying over city. [Celephaïs]
11 Odd nocturnal ritual. Beasts dance and march to musick. [x]
12 Happenings in interval between preliminary sound and striking of clock—ending—
“it was the tones of the clock striking three”. [x]
13 House and garden—old—associations. Scene takes on strange aspect.
14 Hideous sound in the dark.
15 Bridge and slimy black waters. [Fungi—The Canal]
16 The walking dead—seemingly alive, but—. [x]
17 Doors found mysteriously open and shut etc.—excite terror.
18 Calamander-wood—a very valuable cabinet wood of Ceylon and S. India, resembling rosewood.
19 Revise 1907 tale—painting of ultimate horror.
20 Man journeys into the past—or imaginative realm—leaving bodily shell behind.
21 A very ancient colossus in a very ancient desert. Face gone—no man hath seen it.
22 Mermaid Legend—Encyc. Britt. XVI—40.
23 The man who would not sleep—dares not sleep—takes drugs to keep himself awake. Finally falls asleep—and something happens. Motto from Baudelaire p. 214. [Hypnos]
24 Dunsany—Go-By Street
Man stumbles on dream world—returns to earth—seeks to go back—succeeds, but finds dream world ancient and decayed as though by thousands of years.
25 Man visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that
‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’
and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors.
Add good development and describe nature of bas-relief. [Cthulhu]
26 Dream of ancient castle stairs—sleeping guards—narrow window—battle on plain between men of England and men of yellow tabards with red dragons. Leader of English challenges leader of foe to single combat. They fight. Foe unhelmeted, but there is no head revealed. Whole army of foe fades into mist, and watcher finds himself to be the English knight on the plain, mounted. Looks at castle, and sees a peculiar concentration of fantastic clouds over the highest battlements.
27 Life and Death
Death—its desolation and horror—bleak spaces—sea-bottom—dead cities. But Life—the greater horror! Vast unheard-of reptiles and leviathans—hideous beasts of prehistoric jungle—rank slimy vegetation—evil instincts of primal man—Life is more horrible than death.
28 The Cats of Ulthar
The cat is the soul of antique Ægyptus and bearer of tales from forgotten cities of Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
29 Dream of Seekonk—ebbing tide—bolt from sky—exodus from Providence—fall of Congregational dome.
30 Strange visit to a place at night—moonlight—castle of great magnificence etc. Daylight shews either abandonment or unrecognisable ruins—perhaps of vast antiquity.
31 Prehistoric man preserved in Siberian ice. (See Winchell—Walks and Talks in the Geological field—p. 156 et seq.)
32 As dinosaurs were once surpassed by mammals, so will man-mammal be surpassed by insect or bird—fall of man before the new race. [x]
33 Determinism and prophecy. [x]
34 Moving away from earth more swiftly than light—past gradually unfolded—horrible revelation.
35 Special beings with special senses from remote universes. Advent of an external universe to view.
36 Disintegration of all matter to electrons and finally empty space assured, just as devolution of energy to radiant heat is known. Case of acceleration—man passes into space.
37 Peculiar odour of a book of childhood induces repetition of childhood fancy.
38 Drowning sensations—undersea—cities—ships—souls of the dead. Drowning is a horrible death.
39 Sounds—possibly musical—heard in the night from other worlds or realms of being.
40 Warning that certain ground is sacred or accursed; that a house or city must not be built upon it—or must be abandoned or destroyed if built, under penalty of catastrophe.
41 The Italians call Fear La figlia della Morte—the daughter of Death. [x]
42 Fear of mirrors—memory of dream in which scene is altered and climax is hideous surprise at seeing oneself in the water or a mirror. (Identity?) [Outsider?]
43 Monsters born living—burrow underground and multiply, forming race of unsuspected daemons.
44 Castle by pool or river—reflection fixed thro’ centuries—castle destroyed, reflection lives to avenge destroyers weirdly.
45 Race of immortal Pharaohs dwelling beneath pyramids in vast subterranean halls down black staircases.
46 Hawthorne—unwritten plot
Visitor from tomb—stranger at some publick concourse followed at midnight to graveyard where he descends into the earth.
47 From Arabia Encyc. Britan. II—255
Prehistoric fabulous tribes of Ad in the south, Thamood in the north, and Tasm and Jadis in the centre of the peninsula. “Very gorgeous are the descriptions given of Irem, the City of Pillars (as the Koran styles it) supposed to have been erected by Shedad, the latest despot of Ad, in the regions of Hadramaut, and which yet, after the annihilation of its tenants, remains entire, so Arabs say, invisible to ordinary eyes, but occasionally and at rare intervals, revealed to some heaven-favoured traveller.” // Rock excavations in N.W. Hejaz ascribed to Thamood tribe.
48 Cities wiped out by supernatural wrath.
49 AZATHOTH—hideous name. [x]
a river of liquid fire in Hades. [x]
51 Enchanted garden where moon casts shadow of object or ghost invisible to the human eye.
52 Calling on the dead—voice or familiar sound in adjacent room.
53 Hand of dead man writes.
54 Transposition of identity.
55 Man followed by invisible thing.
56 Book or MS. too horrible to read—warned against reading it—someone reads and is found dead. Haverhill incident.
57 Sailing or rowing on lake in moonlight—sailing into invisibility.
58 A queer village—in a valley, reached by a long road and visible from the crest of the hill from which that road descends—or close to a dense and antique forest.
59 Man in strange subterranean chamber—seeks to force door of bronze—overwhelmed by influx of waters.
60 Fisherman casts his net into the sea by moonlight—what he finds.
61 A terrible pilgrimage to seek the nighted throne of the far daemon-sultan Azathoth.
62 Live man buried in bridge masonry according to superstition—or black cat.
63 Sinister names—Nasht—Kaman-Thah. [x]
64 Identity—reconstruction of personality—man makes duplicate of himself. [x]
65 Riley’s fear of undertakers—door locked on inside after death.
66 Catacombs discovered beneath a city (in America?).
67 An impression—city in peril—dead city—equestrian statue—men in closed room—clattering of hooves heard from outside—marvel disclosed on looking out—doubtful ending.
68 Murder discovered—body located—by psychological detective who pretends he has made walls of room transparent. Works on fear of murderer.
69 Man with unnatural face—oddity of speaking—found to be a mask—Revelation.
70 Tone of extreme phantasy
Man transformed to island or mountain. [x]
71 Man has sold his soul to devil—returns to family from trip—life afterward—fear—culminating horror—novel length.
72 Hallowe’en incident—mirror in cellar—face seen therein—death (claw-mark?).
73 Rats multiply and exterminate first a single city and then all mankind. Increased size and intelligence.
74 Italian revenge—killing self in cell with enemy—under castle. [used by FBL, Jr.]
75 Black Mass under antique church.
76 Ancient cathedral—hideous gargoyle—man seeks to rob—found dead—gargoyle’s jaw bloody.
77 Unspeakable dance of the gargoyles—in morning several gargoyles on old cathedral found transposed.
78 Wandering thro’ labyrinth of narrow slum streets—come on distant light—unheard-of rites of swarming beggars—like Court of Miracles in Notre Dame de Paris.
79 Horrible secret in crypt of ancient castle—discovered by dweller.
80 Shapeless living thing forming nucleus of ancient building.
81 Marblehead—dream—burying hill—evening—unreality. [x] [Festival?]
82 Power of wizard to influence dreams of others.
“. . . a defunct nightmare, which had perished in the midst of its wickedness, and left its flabby corpse on the breast of the tormented one, to be gotten rid of as it might.”—Hawthorne
84 Hideous cracked discords of bass musick from (ruin’d) organ in (abandon’d) abbey or cathedral. [Red Hook]
85 “For has not Nature, too, her grotesques—the rent rock, the distorting lights of evening on lonely roads, the unveiled structure of man in the embryo, or the skeleton?”
Pater—Renaissance (da Vinci).
86 To find something horrible in a (perhaps familiar) book, and not to be able to find it again.
87 Borellus says, “that the Essential Salts of animals may be so prepared and preserved, that an ingenious man may have the whole ark of Noah in his own Study, and raise the fine shape of an animal out of its ashes at his pleasure; and that by the like method from the Essential Salts of humane dust, a Philosopher may, without any criminal necromancy, call up the shape of any dead ancestor from the dust whereinto his body has been incinerated.” [Charles Dexter Ward]
88 Lonely philosopher fond of cat. Hypnotises it—as it were—by repeatedly talking to it and looking at it. After his death the cat evinces signs of possessing his personality. N.B. He has trained cat, and leaves it to a friend, with instructions as to fitting a pen to its right fore paw by means of a harness. Later writes with deceased’s own handwriting.
89 Lone lagoons and swamps of Louisiana—death daemon—ancient house and gardens—moss-grown trees—festoons of Spanish moss.
90 Anencephalous or brainless monster who survives and attains prodigious size.
91 Lost winter day—slept over—20 yrs. later. Sleep in chair on summer night—false dawn—old scenery and sensations—cold—old persons now dead—horror—frozen?
92 Man’s body dies—but corpse retains life. Stalks about—tries to conceal odour of decay—detained somewhere—hideous climax. [Cool Air]
93 A place one has been—a beautiful view of a village or farm-dotted valley in the sunset—which one cannot find again or locate in memory.
94 Change comes over the sun—shews objects in strange form, perhaps restoring landscape of the past.
95 Horrible Colonial farmhouse and overgrown garden on city hillside—overtaken by growth. Verse “The House” as basis of story. [Shunned House]
96 Unknown fires seen across the hills at night.
97 Blind fear of a certain woodland hollow where streams writhe among crooked roots, and where on a buried altar terrible sacrifices have occur’d—Phosphorescence of dead trees. Ground bubbles.
98 Hideous old house on steep city hillside—Bowen St.—beckons in the night—black windows—horror unnam’d—cold touch and voice—the welcome of the dead.
99 Salem story—the cottage of an aged witch—wherein after her death are found sundry terrible things.
100 Subterranean region beneath placid New England village, inhabited by (living or extinct) creatures of prehistoric antiquity and strangeness.
101 Hideous secret society—widespread—horrible rites in caverns under familiar scenes—one’s own neighbour may belong. [x]
102 Corpse in room performs some act—prompted by discussion in its presence. Tears up or hides will, etc.
103 Sealed room—or at least no lamp allowed there. Shadow on wall. [x]
104 Old sea tavern now far inland from made land. Strange occurrences—sound of lapping of waves—
105 Vampire visits man in ancestral abode—is his own father.
106 A thing that sat on a sleeper’s chest. Gone in morning, but something left behind.
107 Wall paper cracks off in sinister shape—man dies of fright. [x] [Rats in Walls]
108 Educated mulatto seeks to displace personality of white man and occupy his body.
109 Ancient negro voodoo wizard in cabin in swamp—possesses white man.
110 Antediluvian—Cyclopean ruins on lonely Pacific island. Centre of earthwide subterranean witch cult.
111 Ancient ruin in Alabama swamp—voodoo.
112 Man lives near graveyard—how does he live? Eats no food. [x]
113 Biological-hereditary memories of other worlds and universes. Butler—God Known and Unk. p. 59. [Belknap]
114 Death lights dancing over a salt marsh.
115 Ancient castle within sound of weird waterfall—sound ceases for a time under strange conditions.
116 Prowling at night around an unlighted castle amidst strange scenery.
117 A secret living thing kept and fed in an old house.
118 Something seen at oriel window of forbidden room in ancient manor house.
119 Art note—fantastick daemons of Salvator Rosa or Fuseli (trunk-proboscis).
120 Talking bird of great longevity—tells secret long afterward.
121 Photius tells of a (lost) writer named Damascius, who wrote
“Tales of Daemons”
“Marvellous Stories of Appearances from the Dead”.
122 Horrible things whispered in the lines of Gauthier de Metz (13th cen.) “Image du Monde”.
123 Dried-up man living for centuries in cataleptic state in ancient tomb.
124 Hideous secret assemblage at night in antique alley—disperse furtively one by one—one seen to drop something—a human hand—
125 Man abandon’d by ship—swimming in sea—pickt up hours later with strange story of undersea region he has visited—mad??
126 Castaways on island eat unknown vegetation and become strangely transformed.
127 Ancient and unknown ruins—strange and immortal bird who speaks in a language horrifying and revelatory to the explorers.
128 Individual, by some strange process, retraces the path of evolution and becomes amphibious.
Dr. insists that the particular amphibian from which man descends is not like any known to palaeontology. To prove it, indulges in (or relates) strange experiment.
129 Marble Faun p. 346—strange and prehistorick Italian city of stone.
130 N.E. region call’d “Witches’ Hollow”—along course of a river. Rumours of witches’ sabbaths and Indian powwows on a broad mound rising out of the level where some old hemlocks and beeches formed a dark grove or daemon-temple. Legends hard to account for. Holmes—Guardian Angel.
131 Phosphorescence of decaying wood—called in New England “fox-fire”.
132 Mad artist in ancient sinister house draws things. What were his models? Glimpse. [Pickman’s Model]
133 Man has miniature shapeless Siamese twin—exhib. in circus—twin surgically detached—disappears—does hideous things with malign life of his own. [HSW—Cassius]
134 Witches’ Hollow novel? Man hired as teacher in private school misses road on first trip—encounters dark hollow with unnaturally swollen trees and small cottage (light in window?). Reaches school and hears that boys are forbidden to visit hollow. One boy is strange—teacher sees him visit hollow—odd doings—mysterious disappearance or hideous fate.
135 Hideous world superimposed on visible world—gate through—power guides narrator to ancient and forbidden book with directions for access.
136 A secret language spoken by a very few old men in a wild country leads to hidden marvels and terrors still surviving.
137 Strange man seen in lonely mountain place talking with great winged thing which flies away as others approach.
138 Someone or something cries in fright at sight of the rising moon, as if it were something strange. [x]
139 DELRIO asks “An sint unquam daemones incubi et succubae, et an ex tali congressu proles nasci queat?” [Red Hook]
140 Explorer enters strange land where some atmospheric quality darkens the sky to virtual blackness—marvels therein.
141 Footnote by Haggard or Lang in “The World’s Desire”
“Probably the mysterious and indecipherable ancient books, which were occasionally excavated in old Egypt, were written in this dead language of a more ancient and now forgotten people. Such was the book discovered at Coptos, in the ancient sanctuary there, by a priest of the Goddess. ‘The whole earth was dark, but the moon shone all about the Book.’ A scribe of the period of the Ramessids mentions another in indecipherable ancient writing. ‘Thou tellest me thou understandest no word of it, good or bad. There is, as it were, a wall about it that none may climb. Thou art instructed, yet thou knowest it not; this makes me afraid.’
“Birch Zeitschrift 1871 pp. 61–64 Papyrus Anastasi I pl. X, l.8, pl. X l.4. Maspero, Hist. Anc. pp. 66–67.”
142 Members of witch-cult were buried face downward. Man investigates ancestor in family tomb and finds disquieting condition.
143 Strange well in Arkham country—water gives out (or was never struck —hole kept tightly covered by a stone ever since dug)—no bottom—shunned and feared—what lay beneath (either unholy temple or other very ancient thing, or great cave-world). [Fungi—The Well]
144 Hideous book glimpsed in ancient shop—never seen again.
145 Horrible boarding house—closed door never opened.
146 Ancient lamp found in tomb—when filled and used, its light reveals strange world. [Fungi]
147 Any very ancient, unknown, or prehistoric object—its power of suggestion—forbidden memories.
148 Vampire dog.
149 Evil alley or enclosed court in ancient city—Union or Milligan St. [Fungi]
150 Visit to someone in wild and remote house—ride from station through the night—into the haunted hills—house by forest or water—terrible things live there.
151 Man forced to take shelter in strange house. Host has thick beard and dark glasses. Retires. In night guest rises and sees host’s clothes about—also mask which was the apparent face of whatever the host was. Flight.
152 Autonomic nervous system and subconscious mind do not reside in the head. Have mad physician decapitate a man but keep him alive and subconsciously controlled. Avoid copying tale by W. C. Morrow.
153 Black cat on hill near dark gulf of ancient inn yard. Mew hoarsely—invites artist to nighted mysteries beyond. Finally dies at advanced age. Haunts dreams of artist—lures him to follow—strange outcome (never wakes up? or makes bizarre discovery of an elder world outside 3-dimensioned space?) [Used by Dwyer]
154 Trophonius—cave of. Vide Class. Dict. and Atlantic article.
155 Steepled town seen from afar at sunset—does not light up at night. Sail has been seen putting out to sea. [Fungi]
156 Adventures of a disembodied spirit—thro’ dim, half-familiar cities and over strange moors—thro’ space and time—other planets and universes in the end.
157 Vague lights, geometrical figures, etc., seen on retina when eyes are closed. Caus’d by rays from other dimensions acting on optick nerve? From other planets? Connected with a life or phase of being in which person could live if he only knew how to get there? Man afraid to shut eyes—he has been somewhere on a terrible pilgrimage and this fearsome seeing faculty remains.
158 Man has terrible wizard friend who gains influence over him. Kills him in defence of his soul—walls body up in ancient cellar—BUT—the dead wizard (who has said strange things about soul lingering in body) changes bodies with him . . . leaving him a conscious corpse in cellar. [Thing on Doorstep]
159 Certain kind of deep-toned stately music of the style of the 1870’s or 1880’s recalls certain visions of that period—gas-litten parlours of the dead, moonlight on old floors, decaying business streets with gas lamps, etc.—under terrible circumstances.
160 Book which induces sleep on reading—cannot be read—determined man reads it—goes mad—precautions taken by aged initiate who knows—protection (as of author and translator) by incantation.
161 Time and space—past event—150 yrs ago—unexplained. Modern period—person intensely homesick for past says or does something which is psychically transmitted back and actually causes the past event.
162 Ultimate horror—grandfather returns from strange trip—mystery in house—wind and darkness—grandf. and mother engulfed—questions forbidden—somnolence—investigation—cataclysm—screams overheard—
163 Man whose money was obscurely made loses it. Tells his family he must go again to THE PLACE (horrible and sinister and extra-dimensional) where he got his gold. Hints of possible pursuers—or of his possible non-return. He goes—record of what happens to him—or what happens at his home when he returns. Perhaps connect with preceding topic. Give fantastic, quasi-Dunsanian treatment.
164 Man observed in a publick place with features (or ring or jewel) identified with those of man long (perhaps generations) buried.
165 Terrible trip to an ancient and forgotten tomb.
166 Hideous family living in shadow in ancient castle by edge of wood near black cliffs and monstrous waterfall.
167 Boy rear’d in atmosphere of considerable mystery. Believes father dead. Suddenly is told that father is about to return. Strange preparations—consequences.
168 Lonely bleak islands off N.E. coast. Horrors they harbour—outpost of cosmic influences.
169 What hatches from primordial egg.
170 Strange man in shadowy quarter of ancient city possesses something of immemorial archaic horror.
171 Hideous old book discovered—directions for shocking evocation.
172 Pre-human idol found in desert.
173 Idol in museum moves in a certain way.
174 Migration of Lemmings—Atlantis.
175 Little green Celtic figures dug up in an ancient Irish bog.
176 Man blindfolded and taken in closed cab or car to some very ancient and secret place.
177 The dreams of one man actually create a strange half-mad world of quasi-material substance in another dimension. Another man, also a dreamer, blunders into this world in a dream. What he finds. Intelligence of denizens. Their dependence on the first dreamer. What happens at his death.
178 A very ancient tomb in the deep woods near where a 17th century Virginia manor-house used to be. The undecayed, bloated thing found within.
179 Appearance of an ancient god in a lonely and archaic place—prob. temple ruin. Atmosphere of beauty rather than horror. Subtle handling—presence revealed by faint sound or shadow. Landscape changes? Seen by child? Impossible to reach or identify locale again?
180 A general house of horror—nameless crime—sounds—later tenants—(Flammarion) (novel length?).
181 Inhabitant of another world—face masked, perhaps with human skin or surgically alter’d human shape, but body alien beneath robes. Having reached earth, tries to mix with mankind. Hideous revelation. [Suggested by CAS.]
182 In ancient buried city a man finds a mouldering prehistoric document in English and in his own handwriting, telling an incredible tale. Voyage from present into past implied. Possible actualisation of this.
183 Reference in Egyptian papyrus to a secret of secrets under tomb of high-priest Ka-Nefer. Tomb finally found and identified—trap door in stone floor—staircase, and the illimitable black abyss. [x]
184 Expedition lost in Antarctic or other weird place. Skeletons and effects found years later. Camera films used but undeveloped. Finders develop—and find strange horror.
185 Scene of an urban horror—Sous le Cap or Champlain Sts.—Quebec—rugged cliff-face—moss, mildew, dampness—houses half-burrowing into cliff.
186 Thing from sea—in dark house, man finds doorknobs etc. wet as from touch of something. He has been a sea-captain, and once found a strange temple on a volcanically risen island.
187 Dream of awaking in vast hall of strange architecture, with sheet-covered forms on slabs—in positions similar to one’s own. Suggestions of disturbingly non-human outlines under sheets. One of the objects moves and throws off sheet—non-terrestrial being revealed. Sugg. that oneself is also such a being—mind has become transferred to body on other planet.
188 Desert of rock—prehistoric door in cliff, in the valley around which lie the bones of uncounted billions of animals both modern and prehistoric—some of them puzzlingly gnawed.
189 Ancient necropolis—bronze door in hillside which opens as the moonlight strikes it—focussed by ancient lens in pylon opposite?
190 Primal mummy in museum—awakes and changes place with visitor.
191 An odd wound appears on a man’s hand suddenly and without apparent cause. Spreads. Consequences.
192 Thibetan ROLANG—Sorcerer (or NGAGSPA) reanimates a corpse by holding it in a dark room—lying on it mouth to mouth and repeating a magic formula with all else banished from his mind. Corpse slowly comes to life and stands up. Tries to escape—leaps, bounds, and struggles—but sorcerer holds it. Continues with magic formula. Corpse sticks out tongue and sorcerer bites it off. Corpse then collapses. Tongue become a valuable magic talisman. If corpse escapes—hideous results and death to sorcerer.
193 Strange book of horror discovered in ancient library. Paragraphs of terrible significance copies. Later unable to find and verify text. Perhaps discover body or image or charm under floor, in secret cupboard, or elsewhere. Idea that book was merely hypnotic delusion induced by dead brain or ancient magic.
194 Man enters (supposedly) own house in pitch dark. Feels way to room and shuts door behind him. Strange horrors—or turns on lights and finds alien place or presence. Or finds past restored or future indicated.
195 Pane of peculiar-looking glass from a ruined monastery reputed to have harboured devil-worship set up in modern house at edge of wild country. Landscape looks vaguely and unplaceably wrong through it. It has some unknown time-distorting quality, and comes from a primal, lost civilisation. Finally, hideous things in other world seen through it.
196 Daemons, when desiring an human form for evil purposes, take to themselves the bodies of hanged men.
197 Loss of memory and entry into a cloudy world of strange sights and experiences after shock, accident, reading of strange book, participation in strange rite, draught of strange brew, etc. Things seen have vague and disquieting familiarity. Emergence. Inability to retrace course.
198 Distant tower visible from hillside window. Bats cluster thickly around it at night. Observer fascinated. One night wakes to find self on unknown black circular staircase. In tower? Hideous goal.
199 Black winged thing flies into one’s house at night. Cannot be found or identified—but subtle developments ensue.
200 Invisible Thing felt—or seen to make prints—on mountain top or other height, inaccessible place.
201 Planets form’d of invisible matter.
202 A monstrous derelict—found and boarded by a castaway or shipwreck survivor.
203 A return to a place under dreamlike, horrible, and only dimly comprehended circumstances. Death and decay reigning—town fails to light up at night—Revelation.
204 Disturbing conviction that all life is only a deceptive dream with some dismal or sinister horror lurking behind.
205 Person gazes out window and finds city and world dark and dead (or oddly changed) outside.
206 Trying to identify and visit the distant scenes dimly seen from one’s window—bizarre consequences.
207 Something snatched away from one in the dark—in a lonely, ancient, and generally shunned place.
208 (Dream of) some vehicle—railway train, coach, etc.—which is boarded in a stupor or fever, and which is a fragment of some past or ultra-dimensional world—taking the passenger out of reality—into vague, age-crumbled regions or unbelievable gulfs of marvel.
209 Special Correspondence of NY Times—March 3, 1935
“Halifax, N.S.—Etched deeply into the face of an island which rises from the Atlantic surges off the S. coast of Nova Scotia 20 m. from Halifax is the strangest rock phenomenon which Canada boasts. Storm, sea, and frost have graven into the solid cliff of what has come to be known as Virgin’s Island an almost perfect outline of the Madonna with the Christ Child in her arms.
The island has sheer and wave-bound sides, is a danger to ships, and is absolutely uninhabited. So far as is known, no human being has ever set foot on its shores.”
210 An ancient house with blackened pictures on the walls—so obscured that their subjects cannot be deciphered. Cleaning—and revelation. Cf. Hawthorne—Edw. Rand. Port.
211 Begin story with presence of narrator—inexplicable to himself—in utterly alien and terrifying scenes (dream?).
212 Strange human being (or beings) living in some ancient house or ruins far from populous district (either old N.E. or far exotic land). Suspicion (based on shape and habits) that it is not all human.
213 Ancient winter woods—moss—great boles—twisted branches—dark—ribbed roots—always dripping. . . .
214 Talking rock of Africa—immemorially ancient oracle in desolate jungle ruins that speaks with a voice out of the aeons.
215 Man with lost memory in strange, imperfectly comprehended environment. Fears to regain memory—a glimpse. . . .
216 Man idly shapes a queer image—some power impels him to make it queerer than he understands. Throws it away in disgust—but something is abroad in the night.
217 Ancient (Roman? prehistoric?) stone bridge washed away by a (sudden and curious?) storm. Something liberated which had been sealed up in the masonry of years ago. Things happen.
218 Mirage in time—image of long-vanish’d pre-human city.
219 Fog or smoke—assumes shaped under incantations.
220 Bell of some ancient church or castle rung by some unknown hand—a thing . . . or an invisible Presence.
221 Insects or other entities from space attack and penetrate a man’s head and cause him to remember alien and exotic things—possible displacement of personality.